Is medicine artificially inflated?

Discussion in 'Healthcare/Insurance/Govt Healthcare' started by atlasshrugged, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. atlasshrugged
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    atlasshrugged Member

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    With recent changes to healthcare, I've heard dozens of people act as if the doctors have a monopoly and that they only charge so much because us suckers are willing to pay it. When you see a doctor with a big paycheck, it's easy to assume that the reason healthcare is so expensive is because the doctor is overpaid. But I recently wondered how much of a bill actually goes to him or her. So I crunched the numbers.

    If a surgeon (making $300,000 annually) works 250 days, he/she would be making $150 an hour. That still seems high until you look at it from the perspective of a single patient. If I were to have this surgeon operate on my heart (let's say a 4 hour surgery) that means only $600 go to the surgeon. I don't know about you, but I'll gladly give $600 to anyone with the knowledge to operate on my heart.

    The real costs lie in things like administration, your own health insurance company, expensive supplies and machines, and malpractice insurance. It's sad that healthcare costs so much, but few of these costs are avoidable and virtually none are the result of greedy doctors charging more than they are worth. Anytime you visit the doctor, you are using the services of dozens of people (nurses, medical assistants, administration, engineers who design equipment, factories who assemble equipment, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, delivery of supplies, etc).

    Perhaps we should be grateful that we live in a time when incredible surgeries and treatments are even possible rather than complaining about how expensive they are.
     
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  2. MHunterB
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    MHunterB Gold Member

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    It's even less than that: my cousin the anesthesiologist who works for a small surgical practice tells me that about 1/3 of the procedures they do are 'pro bono' lately. That's right - nobody gets paid for it. But they still have to have malpractice coverage and keep records, etc.....

    I don't have a ready reference for this, but I recall hearing that the 'admin' costs are more than twice the doctors' salaries.

    And unlike my husband who works for a company employing thousands - if the surgeon needs surgery, he doesn't get disability pay while he recovers if he's an independant or part of a small group.

    I'm not sure if they can even buy private disability insurance any more.
     
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  3. Luddly Neddite
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    Luddly Neddite Diamond Member

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    When I had a minor emergency in Brussels, chance took me to one of the best doctors in the city. Very basic though well equipped office and he really knew what he was doing. I had to see him twice, got two scrips filled and could not have been happier with the treatment. I was seen immediately and the cost was about USD$150. We have good friends who lives in Brussels and they both say we're stupid to put up with the crappy medicine and bad service we get in the US.

    OTOH, I have had to see a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon in the US for several reasons. He has a building of his own, all the latest doodads and equipment, a receptionist, an appointment maker, an office manager, an RN, a billing clerk (plus a billing company) and a Physicians Assistant - all full time. He does surgeries two days a week and has office hours two days a week, off on Fri, Sat and Sun. His staff supposedly works on Friday but I'd say that's iffy. Heck, his so-called Office Manager is dead weight and if I were his boss, he'd be out looking for a job.

    Add that up. Six full time salaries, office expenses, supplies, the billing company and he makes enough to pay all that working a 4 day week. Oh, and he's in a smallish city so doesn't have a bottomless supply of patients.

    He makes even more money by going to various parts of the world to do certain surgeries and recently got an award that says he's in the top 25 surgeons who do a particular procedure.

    Americans are used to looking on their doctors as little gods. We get less and we pay more for it.
     
  4. Luddly Neddite
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    Luddly Neddite Diamond Member

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    That depends.

    I have excellent insurance so I get what I want.

    There is absolutely no doubt that if I did not have this insurance, I would not be getting the care I get. Its just simply fact. If you can't pay, you get the basics at the emergency room and then you're tossed out with the "recommendation" that you see "your doctor" asap.

    You can "complain about how expensive it is all you want" but, in the US, if you don't have insurance, you don't get care.
     
  5. atlasshrugged
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    atlasshrugged Member

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    If it's so easy, maybe you should become a doctor and undercut him. You could take all his business and humble him a little. Oh, right, that would take you 10-12 years. Funny how that works.

    As for Brussels, what are taxes like there? I imagine they must be higher because money has to come from somewhere. Do they have government oversight to test new medications? You can't act like they offer the same quality of healthcare for $150 and act like that money doesn't come from somewhere else. There's no such thing as a free lunch. If that's true, I doubt there's such a thing as really cheap healthcare where everyone makes a profit and pays low taxes.
     
  6. atlasshrugged
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    atlasshrugged Member

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    I'm not saying it isn't sad, but someone has to pay for the services. It's not fair that people who can't afford insurance get cancer or heart problems, but it's even less fair for dozens of healthcare officials to have to give service at a loss. Maybe government healthcare is the solution, but don't blame the doctors. Their profits are a minor contributor to the entire costs of healthcare.
     
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  7. auditor0007
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    auditor0007 Gold Member

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    My late wife battled leukemia for ten months. She had a stem cell transplant and was in isolation for a little over four weeks. In all, she spent about 130 days of those last ten months in the hospital. This was ten years ago. Total cost was $1.3 million. This is for one patient.

    You tell me if you think that makes any sense or not. It averages out to about $10,000 per day for her treatment. This is not uncommon. Many with leukemia see medical bills in excess of $1 million. Many times, if they have lifetime caps, they easily surpass those within the first year of treatment.

    The cost of medical care is staggering. We need to find a way to reduce the cost. No other country in the world spends anywhere close to as much as we spend. While an argument can be made that we have the best equipment and best doctors, the cost still cannot be justified. If we were spending slightly more than other developed countries, and everyone was covered and was guaranteed complete medical attention when they needed it, then that would make sense, but the fact is that we spend more than twice as much as every other country, and the results are no better. In fact, for some it is worse, because if you are uninsured, you can't even get certain treatments, even if they could save your life. Try getting a stem cell transplant without insurance. They won't do it. They'll give you chemo, but no stem cell transplant. Same goes for most other organ transplants. No insurance, no transplant, even if it will save your life.
     
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  8. Interpol
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    Interpol Radical Centrist

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    Yes, medicine is inflated, and particularly in the United States, which is why 11 million Americans buy prescription drugs from Canada and the UK at about half the cost that it is in America.

    It's a private health care system, so compared to every other developed nation, which is service-oriented, not bottom-line oriented, costs in America are very high.

    I think doctors should be on salaries. Medicare abuses and other health care charges are abused by docs. There are tests and procedures that are done unnecessarily at times, but who gives a fuck, the gubment's paying for it!

    Prescription drug companies in America get away with murder. Cancer treatments are routinely purchased from Canada at more than half off compared to America.

    Americans pay twice as much every year for their health care than Canadians do, meanwhile, health care outcomes in both countries are relatively similar.

    In Canada, which is basically private health care services but on a single-payer plan, the equipment, the medicine and many other things are all private sector things, but the payment structure is socialized and the government puts controls on costs, which makes drugs there affordable.

    I'd have to say I would prefer a health care system minus the private insurance industry, which acts as a pimp between me and my health care. In Canada, the government has leveled the playing field and citizens have more power over their health care than Americans do, imho. No haggling with insurers up there, and contrary to popular belief, that country remarkably is set to go back into surplus by 2015-2016, which means universal health care isn't bankrupting them.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  9. tanyadoler
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    tanyadoler Rookie

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    Yeah,but there are some doctors who offer affordable rate.
     
  10. tanyadoler
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    tanyadoler Rookie

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    Yeah,if you want to have a better insurance services you should pay lots.Even there is a free government insurance you have to expect the worst, "If you can't pay, you get the basics at the emergency room and then you're tossed out with the "recommendation" that you see "your doctor" asap. "Agree?

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